Michael Virtanen of the Kansas City Star had an article in the business section of the paper on March 5th stating that under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed to delete posts from users seeking to buy or sell weapons illegally or without a background check. A similar policy will be applied to Instagram, the company’s photo-sharing network. The measures will be put into effect over the next few weeks. The move reflects growing alarm that the Internet is being used to sell banned weapons or put guns in the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill, or others barred under federal law from obtaining firearms. Gun control advocates say Facebook has become a significant marketplace, with thousands of gun-related posts. Google Plus and Craigslist already prohibit all gun sales. Facebook said that instead of patrolling its network for violators, it will rely on reports from users and police. It will also remove any posts in which a gun seller offers to skip a background check, even if such checks are not required in the seller’s state.
The new policy was worked out in an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been pressing the company along with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action. It was Moms Demand Action that collected more than 230,000 signatures on petitions calling on Facebook to act. You can send a thank you to Facebook for taking action via the Moms Demand Action website.
Please continue to pray that we, the Missionaries and Companions of the Precious Blood, will strive to live our corporate stance against gun violence. Please join me in prayer, March 13-16 during the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath, along with hundreds of other congregations across the country. Let us hope to see more progress on reducing gun violence in 2014. Seeing Facebook respond to the concerns of the general public the way they did gives me hope. We need to cherish our victories along the way.